Q: What can I do about constipation during pregnancy?
A: Although most laxatives are a big no-no during pregnancy (some can cause contractions), there are plenty of good natural ways to rev up your digestion. Drinking more water (at least six to eight glasses a day), and packing your diet with high-fiber foods (like oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, beans, veggies, and fruits -- especially pears, plums and peaches) can help. Research also shows that light exercise can speed up digestion, so try to take a stroll after lunch or each night after dinner.
If these don't work, your doctor may suggest a gentle laxative like milk of magnesia or a fiber-based laxative like Metamucil, Fiberall, or Citrucel to get things back on track. You should also look at the supplements you take. If you're taking an iron supplement for anemia or your prenatal vitamin is high in iron, this could also be worsening your constipation symptoms. Talk to your doctor about switching to supplements with a lower dose, or taking a prenatal vitamin with DHA, a nutrient that's also a natural stool softener.